Every property has an entrance. They aren’t always distinctive or even structural, but houses have a transition between public space and the private space that exists on the other side of the property line. I enjoy wonderfully designed and built structures, so I’m biased in favor of architectural solutions. This fence and gate in Guerneville is a beautiful example of an entrance that’s suited to the surroundings.
The property is surrounded by redwoods and hills. The wisteria and natural wood are perfect materials to accent the green hills and the redwoods that define Guerneville and much of the Russian River area. The wonderfully detailed and carefully constructed arbor over the gate creates an enlosed space that’s a welcome human scale. At the same time, the horizontal elements provide an elevated plant support that will let the wisteria blossoms hang beautifully at eye level in the spring.
This entrance is just a short distance away from the redwood fence and gate and also strongly defines an entrance. The strong horizontal lines of the wall are reinforced by the carefully pruned hedges. The horizontals are emphasized again by the inner hedge that simultaneously screens the house from view and guides the traffic to either side. On either side of the entrance, stone pillars topped with lanterns clearly mark the transition between wall and entry. Stone walls are a classic symbol of permanence and security and we intuitively understand this house is important simply by the existence of the stone walls and carefully maintained hedge.
The entrance is further enhanced by a (edited to hide the number) beautiful bronze house number embedded in the wall. The size and detail speak to pride of ownership and address. The mix of materials in this image reminds me of the elements of dwelling and civilization that date to the earliest of human cities. This wall and entrance could have been built in Mesopotamia, Egypt, or Greece and would have sheltered an important house then as well.